It’s Cyber Monday, the unofficial start to the online holiday shopping season. In the wake of the recent Macy’s breach and other high-profile cyber incidents, it’s important to protect your online identity by controlling the amount of personal information that is available online and ensure that your data is transmitted safely every time you use your credit card online. Here are a few tips for cyber safety on Cyber Monday.
- Only share your credit card with secure sites and avoid ordering from sites you don’t know - The FTC provides a basic overview of online shopping best practices and it's always best to shop with sites you already know, but also, beware of look-alike domains. And if you see a deal too good to dismiss on a new site, check for HTTPS rather than HTTP in the URL.
- Avoid sketchy software downloads – Only download software from reputable sources. Although shopping apps or browser extensions may claim to save you money, they could contain malware or viruses that can steal information off your device.
- Be careful sharing personal information – Information about you is already available on the internet and it can easily be stolen by hackers for malicious purposes. See our blog post Protecting Your Online Identity.
- Create strong passwords and use multi-factor authentication – Follow password best practice recommendations and never reuse passwords. Access controls may be the last line of defense, so use unique, complex passwords for each site and multi-factor authentication wherever possible. See our password strength best practices.
- Keep your devices updated – Before you start shopping, make sure your software and devices are as secure as possible. Security issues are continually being found and fixed, and it's important to keep the software on your computers, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices up to date where possible (be aware that some IoT devices cannot be patched). Enable automatic updates if possible. Read our tips for securing your smartphone and our tips for securing your IoT devices.
- Beware of phishing and vishing attempts – Learn how to identify and not fall victim to these types of scams, and what to do if you think you've become a victim. Learn 8 ways to Identify a Phishing attack with this infographic.
- If you buy new electronic devices, dispose of your old devices securely – Before discarding or recycling old devices, properly remove all personal data and using a secure recycling program. See the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines on mobile device disposal here. Contact your service provider to see if any other steps need to be taken to protect your personal data.
These are just a few basic cyber safety tips for Cyber Monday. Don’t be distracted by the good deals and keep your personal information safe.